Matobo National Park
Matobo National Park forms the core of the Matobo Hills area of granite kopjes and valleys beginning about 35km south of Bulawayo
The hills cover an area of about 3100km² of which 424 km² is National Park. The remainder is largely communal land with a small proportion of commercial farmlands.
The hills were formed over 2 billion years ago when granite was forced to the surface which has then eroded to produce smooth “whaleback dwalas” and kopjes scattered with boulders and interspersed with thickets of vegetation. Mzilikazi, founder of the Ndebele nation, gave the area its name meaning “Bald Heads”.
The national park is the oldest in Zimbabwe and was established in 1926 as Rhodes Matopos National Park, as requested by Cecil John Rhodes.
The Matobo Hills were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003. The Matobo Hills is an area of huge botanic diversity with over 200 species of tree recorded. The park has a wide diversity of fauna, game includes white and black rhino, sable antelope, impala and the world’s densest population of leopard. The Whovi Game Park was restocked with white rhino from South Africa in the 1960’s and black from the Zambezi Valley in the 1990’s. It has been designated as an Intensive Protection Zone for both black and white rhino. Matobo National Park also contains the highest concentration of black eagles (Verreaux’s Eagles) and breeding pairs of these birds in the world.
San People (bushmen) lived in the Matobo Hills about 2000 years ago and they left behind a rich heritage of hundreds of rock paintings. There are over 3000 registered rock art sites and in many crevices and caves , clay ovens and other artefacts have been found.